Over a week after the NIA conducted searches in 14 locations across Tamil Nadu in connection with an alleged terror plan, the DMK has condemned the Centre for 'targeting innocent Muslims'. It has accused the BJP of directing the NIA to arrest members of the minority community to further its political interests and alleged that the AIADMK has failed to question the Centre for the same.
The allegations were made by DMK President MK Stalin in a strongly worded Facebook post. On July 19, searches were conducted by the NIA in districts including Chennai, Madurai, Tirunelveli and Ramanathapuram district. This was a day after a special NIA court had granted the investigating agency eight-day custody of 16 men arrested for allegedly attempting to set up the terror outfit, 'Ansarullah.' Of the 16 men, 14 were deported from UAE for allegedly attempting to gather funds for terror attacks while two others were accused of planning the attack.
"Similar to how independent institutions like the CBI, ED and IT department have been politicised, the NIA which was formed to take action against terrorism has been used for political gains by the BJP," wrote the DMK chief. "There is a separate department to handle internal security in Tamil Nadu in the DGP's office. And it even has an officer supervised by the DIG. There are other departments as well. Q branch is completely under the state's control and under the direct supervision of the Chief Minister. However, the NIA superseded the Q branch and raided multiple districts on Tamil Nadu. Innocent Muslims youth were targeted, everyone in the Muslim community were portrayed like terrorists. The BJP should immediately let go of this dangerous path it has taken. Terrorism is not exclusive to any one religion," he added.
The DMK has further accused the BJP of using NIA to create a path for its political entry in Tamil Nadu.
"If BJP wants to hop into Tamil Nadu politics, there are more democratic ways to gain people's support. Instead of that, trying to portray a minority community as terrorists, using the NIA in Tamil Nadu and arresting people without the state government's knowledge is not befitting of a Central government," said MK Stalin in his post.
He further accused the state government of remaining silent as minorities were persecuted. However, it is to be noted that opposition parties including the DMK which has 37 MPs in the Lok Sabha, voted for the NIA bill, which looked to arm the investigating agency with power to investigate a more extensive list of crimes and widen its jurisdiction.
And perhaps in an effort to address this, Stalin said, "At a time when all parties are united in the call for action against terrorism, this unity must not be used wrongly to promote the BJP's political interests. This cannot be accepted. AIADMK must emphasise this to the Centre. They must oppose harassment of innocent Muslims."